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8 Tasting Notes

95
drank Dragonwell by Teavana
8 tasting notes

When I brought home this Dragonwell, I put it into a tea tin which had previously been home to Teavana’s “Blackberry Mojito”. Despite the tin being made of metal, the scent of blackberry was still lingering.

Now my Dragonwell has a hint of blackberry.

I am not complaining.

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95
drank Dragonwell by Teavana
8 tasting notes

Dragonwell was one of my first loose-leaf teas, and an early favorite green, though finding a good one has been difficult, lately. (I don’t know if the quality that Peet’s is releasing has gone down, or if I picked up a stale tin of leaves in-store…)

Teavana’s Dragonwell, I’m pleased to say, is more like the kind I first tried a decade or so ago: strong, vegetal, nutty; tastes like it might do well chilled, too, but I had it hot today. My preference is boiling water to bring out a strong flavor; the recommended 175 F left it tasting kind of bland.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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100

Love love love this Orzo. I can’t do large quantities of caffeine (which means coffee = bad), so last fall, when it seemed like perfect evening latte weather, I started making this with a little Half & Half instead. The taste of roasted barley is tempered by a light sweetness. Adding a dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg added beautifully to the atmosphere.

I have a bit of a strawberry allergy, and didn’t know this had strawberries in it until I got home. I tried it anyway, and as it turns out, the strawberry presence is so mild as to be virtually nonexistent. No itchy eyes for me!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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100

This is a black tea which makes me wish I could handle drinking black tea all the time. As is, a small cuppa with breakfast and the rest of the pot for my plants is the way it goes.

I tried this tea on a whim several years ago and was completely floored by it. I had never had such a smokey tea before, and I was living in a very snowy area. It was the perfect winter breakfast tea. It was also delicious with a little Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Latte, but Bh has since changed the recipe so it might not be quite the same anymore.

Compared to Lapsang Souchong, Scottish Breakfast is milder. The smokiness will still make your tongue tingle, but it won’t overwhelm your senses like L S can (and won’t make your tea cupboard smell like woodsmoke). That said, if you don’t know how you feel about a brisk cup of black tea, be wary of this one; you might be able to cut with milk or something, but it doesn’t sweeten well. This is a cup for those who don’t care for sweet things to begin with.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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82
drank Napa Blanc by Lupicia
8 tasting notes

Like the Momoko, this is a flavored tea with sugar crystals in it. (These ones are lumpy instead of geometric, which makes me wonder if there’s a little of the flavor infused into the crystals and that’s why there’s a difference.)

I find I like this tea for the same reason that other reviewers didn’t: its scent, hot or straight from the tin, is strongly reminiscent of a white wine without the alcoholic bite. I don’t notice the taste of the actual tea leaves in this so much, but that may be a reflection on how well it was blended; the tea and the flavor fit together to give you something that is sweet without being too sweet, yet it has a white wine tartness which lingers in your mouth (sans the cloying qualities of actual white wine).

This is another tea where I bought some a year ago, finished it thinking maybe I’m not a fan of flavored teas like this, and then found myself wanting it again recently. It’s a flavor which grew on me over time.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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82
drank Momoko by Lupicia
8 tasting notes

There are sugar crystals in this tea. Very geometric ones. This was surprising, the first time I saw it; I don’t usually add anything to my green tea, so to see there was sugar already mixed in threw me for a loop.

There’s definitely a difference between this and other peach teas, marked by the presence of vanilla. It makes for a sweeter fruity scent.

I have a tendency to forget to take the tea strainer out of my tea, so “oversteeped” is a way of life. This is a tea which does well with this kind of forgetfulness; the green never gets so astringent that it becomes undrinkable, and the peach-vanilla only gets stronger. It’s a strange tea in that, in my most recent experience, the taste of the tea itself is there but more as a background, undercurrent of flavor. Generally speaking, I like my green teas to taste green, so my feelings about Momoko were pretty mixed the first time I tried it. Still, I found I liked it enough to get a new pouch this year.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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93
drank Kyoto by Lupicia
8 tasting notes

When steeped for the recommended time (1 – 1.5 min), the flavor is very delicate — you’ll notice it more on the aftertaste than when the first sip is in your mouth, and there’s a definite pause between when you swallow and when the flavor comes through.

Even when it has steeped a while longer (I put my leaves directly into a pot and so the flavor is getting stronger over time), the flavor remains light, vegetal, and sweet, with a long-lingering aftertaste. The water I used was a few degrees on the cooler side of the recommended temperature frame (70 – 75 C according the packaging). If you’re a fan of Gyokuro, you’ll definitely enjoy this Japanese green blend.

I bought this in-store, so I had the benefit of being able to smell the leaves that were on display. WOW. The price tag looks off-putting ($23.50 USD), but the scent of the leaves completely changed my mind. I made some adjustments to my original tea shopping plan so I could bring this home.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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99
drank Kyobancha by Lupicia
8 tasting notes

I bought this out of curiosity because it was on discount at the nearby Lupicia store. I noticed, once I got it home, that the directions are unusual: you don’t just brew this tea. By Lupicia’s directions, you boil it for 3-5 minutes.

The idea of boiling tea is so contrary to everything I’ve learned over the years that it felt sacrilegious, but lo and behold, the result is wonderful. It’s a green which goes down like a rich black tea, minus the bitterness. It has a fantastic, brothy Umami quality, and there’s something deliciously buttery about the way the flavor lingers. It’s been perfect for the cooler autumnal weather.

The previous reviewer sounded terribly unimpressed with it; I encourage anyone who has this tea or is thinking about trying it to boil instead of steep the leaves. I’ve been using about three teaspoons to 14 – 16 ounces of water in a saucepan, straining it as I pour it into a mug.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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